News – March 8, 2009

Three Injured in Wreck

3/8/09 – Three people were injured in a two-vehicle accident that occurred Saturday night in Dodge County. The Sheriffs Department says the wreck occurred just before 7pm in the Town of Theresa. Paul Stark of Portage was traveling westbound on Highway 28 when he struck a vehicle that was northbound on Highway 175. The 41-year-old Stark had to be cut from his vehicle. He was transported to St Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac along with his passenger, 60-year-old Susan Stark of Mayville. They were later transferred to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, along with the driver of the other vehicle, 61-year-old Joanne Wertz of Oshkosh. The crash remains under investigation but dense fog is considered to be a contributing factor.

Redevelopment Plan Update

3/8/09 – City officials in Beaver Dam will consider the hiring of a contractor for work on the city’s downtown redevelopment project when they meet in committee Monday night. In January, the Common Council approved the hiring of WDS Construction of Beaver Dam to oversee the initial phases of the downtown revitalization plan. Under the plan, the city will acquire and demolish nine of eleven downtown buildings located over the Beaver Dam River that are in violation of state statute. WDS was paid $35,000 to conduct a study to determine the actual costs of the project. The price-tag came in about a quarter million dollars less than estimated at $1.6 million dollars. Tomorrow the Operations Committee will get an update from WDS, and decide whether the company should be hired to complete the project. Their recommendation will be forwarded to the full council next Monday. The Operations Committee will meet at 6:30pm tomorrow (Mon) night in City Hall council chambers.

Changes in Columbus Municipal Broadcasting

3/8/09 – The “franchise money” used to operate City of Columbus cable TV broadcasting is going to be transferred to the State of Wisconsin control during 2010. Administrator Boyd Kraemer said the City could be loosing its two local Municipal and School System Cable Channels. The Cable Commission, inactive over the past year, will be revived to look into options Columbus has in maintaining a broadcast capability for its Council and School Board meetings. For years local residents had been able to watch former Channels 4 and 10 on the Charter Cable system to view locally operated broadcasts of City Council and School Board meetings. Passage of the new State Act will mean the end of the local franchise income. This past week the City received notice that Charter Communications was seeking court approval to file Chapter 11. The Charter “financial restructuring” was another reason for Columbus officials to seek other funding and explore internet broadcasting possibilities.

Public Hearings on Budget Scheduled

3/8/09 – Dates have announced for public hearings on the state’s next two year spending plan. Northern Wisconsin is left out in the cold. None of the locations for the six hearings are north of Highway 8 – a decision Joint Committee on Finance co-chair, Senator Mark Miller, defends. It’s about saving state money. The six locations will be within reasonable commuting distance of Madison, meaning no overnight lodging needed. The first hearing is March 23 in Sparta, then March 25 in West Allis, March 27 in Eau Claire, March 30 in Racine, April 1 in Appleton, April 3 in Cambridge.

Oconomowoc Man Charged With Dog Abuse Following Drawing

3/8/09 – An Oconomowoc man is in trouble, facing felony charges, after his son drew a picture at school and wrote, “My Dad is a killer!” on the drawing. Michael Tessman is charged with mistreatment of an animal. He accused of kicking his dog five to 10 times. The dog later died. Tessmer allegedly got mad when he returned home a week ago last night and found the three

year old dog had urinated and defecated on the floor. Tessmer is scheduled to make a court appearance in Waukesha County next Thursday.

Search Continues for Missing Woman

3/8/09 – The last time 28 year old Renee Marie Redmer was seen was January 5. Waukesha police are asking the public to help them find the woman who has been missing for more than two months. Redmer reportedly has a history of drug abuse and her relatives say they think she was the victim of foul play. When she left with an unknown person last January, Redmer left two small children behind. A statewide search has been conducted, focusing on Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Waukesha and Wisconsin Dells.

Hunt Guilty in Fatal Hit and Run

3/8/09 – Jurors deliberated for about seven hours Friday before finding 19 year old James Hunt guilty of a long list of felony charges. Jurors decided Hunt was drunk when he was driving the car that hit and killed 16 year old Nikki Kehm last July. The jury also decided he kept driving, even though he knew he hit the girl. The accident happened in the town of Scott. The girl was dead at the Sheboygan County scene.

Students Charged With Bringing IED to School

3/8/09 – Three students at Madison’s Whitehorse Middle School may face charges after an explosive device was found at the school. One of the boys, aged 12, was caught throwing what was called an “improvised explosive device” last Friday. A similar device was found in a locker, leading police to call in the Dane County Bomb Squad. The school wasn’t evacuated, but the area around the locker was cleared of students. Three boys aged 12 and 13 were questioned. The Madison Metropolitan School District says it will take appropriate action after the police investigation is completed.

Accused Facebook Blackmailer To Plead ‘Not Guilty’

3/8/09 – His attorney says New Berlin student Anthony Stancil will plead not guilty at his court appearance tomorrow. Stancil is accused of blackmailing other boys for sex in a scam he conducted on a social networking website. Prosecutors say Stancil posed as a girl on Facebook and tricked his classmates into sending him naked pictures of themselves. The 18 year old is accused of using those pictures to blackmail the victims for sex acts. Stancil’s attorney says his client is open to talking about a plea agreement, but he wants to see what evidence the state has before starting those talks.

Social Networking Websites Could Lead to ID Theft

3/8/09 – You should be careful about the information you put on your Facebook page. More than 16 thousand Wisconsin residents filed federal complaints last year as victims of consumer fraud or identity theft. Patty Struck of the state Department of Financial Institutions says about half of the state’s victims are 20-to-40 years old – those most willing to share online their personal lives on Facebook and MySpace. She says everybody must learn they shouldn’t provide personal data to unfamiliar people. A Marquette University researcher says people are developing different attitudes on what should and should not be kept private. She surveyed around 600 college students and only about seven percent were willing to list their address on their profile. Ninety-two percent listed their birthday. With three out of four respondents sharing their hometown, identity thieves can piece it together.

Lawsuit Brews Over WIAA Content Rights

3/8/09 – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association says it has to protect its right to charge media partners for broadcasting its postseason tournaments. The WIAA has sued an Appleton newspaper for producing a live webcast of a high school playoff game in Stevens Point last November without obtaining permission from the state organization. The WIAA argues is owns the rights to any way a media outlet might cover its tournaments, including writing, sounds and images. Newspaper officials argue the WIAA wants too much authority — and it could put restrictions on anyone, including parents or students at the events.